6 Itineraries For A Long Weekend Skiing
FOR QUIET LUXURY:
Megève is a luxury ski resort in the French Alps, overlooking the towering Mont Blanc Massif. Easily reached via an hour’s drive from Geneva, the village has an old-world charm with pretty cobbled streets, cosy wooden chalets and baroque architecture. There are three main ski area to explore, mainly suited to beginners and intermediate skiers, with an impressive 445km-worth of pistes. It’s also a great choice for snowboarding thanks to the scenic slopes and flatter areas at the base. Quieter but less touristy than other resorts in France, visitors come for the reliable conditions and excellent dining options – from Michelin-starred restaurants to family-run bistros, there’s something for everyone.
Book a table at Le Torrent, a rustic restaurant in the main square which serves traditional French dishes and fondues, and Chamois for raclette and charcuterie boards. If you splash out at one restaurant, make it Flocons de Sel, the resorts’ three-Michelin-starred restaurant. Tasting menus featuring seafood and meat dishes are served in the relaxed dining room with its high ceilings and beautiful mountain views. On the mountain, stop at Auberge Bonjournal which serves hearty French dishes and excellent desserts around a roaring fire. During a weekend, walk to Le Chemin du Calvaire for some of the best views on Megève, and treat yourself to a treatment at the luxurious Pure Altitude Spa after a day on the slopes. Facilities include two indoor two swimming pools, jacuzzies, a hammam, a sauna and Japanese baths.
Affordable: Au Coin du Feu
Megève is expensive, but there have been a number of more affordable accommodation openings in recent years. Just a five-minute walk from the Chamois ski lift, Au Coin du Feu is a small boutique hotel with cosy rooms and suites with views of Jaillet Mountain or Rochebrune Mountain. There’s a wellness area with a sauna and hammam, plus a seafood restaurant which is open every day from December onwards. The hotel can help arrange ski passes and rental equipment, as well as transfers around Megève.
From £175 per night.
Luxe: Hotel L’Alpaga
If you’re after luxury hotels and chalets, Ski Solutions has an excellent selection in Europe. L'alpaga is one of Megève’s smartest hotels, with 26 rooms, seven suites and five luxury chalets. It’s a short walk from the town to the hotel which has chic modern interiors and beautiful views of Mont Blanc. Guests can dine at La Table, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, which was recently awarded a second Michelin star, relax at the bar and spend a couple of hours in the spa.
From £550 per night.
FOR GLITZ & GLAMOUR:
Gstaad is a glamorous resort in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland. With an interesting mix of French and German influences, it’s world-famous for its 200km-worth of slopes, split into six sections for varying abilities. It also has over 130km of cross-country tracks, plus snowboarding routes and several ski schools for beginners. The grand Gstaad Palace is perhaps the most famous landmark, and the resort is traditional and charming, with wooden chalets and a pretty town with independent shops and boutiques. After a two-hour drive from Geneva or three-hour drive from Zurich, visitors can hit the tree-lined slopes and try a range of snow sports. Children will love the area’s snow parks and toboggan runs, while adults will appreciate the resort’s famous aprés ski scene.
Gstaad and fine dining go hand in hand, so book a table at one or two of the area’s best restaurants, including Gildo's Ristorante for Italian food, and the Michelin-starred Sommet at the exclusive Alpina Gstaad hotel for modern, inventive European dishes. For something more causal, La Fromagerie serves classic fondue and raclette, while Wassengrat Restaurant at the top of the mountain is where you’ll find delicious alpine dishes. During a weekend, visit of the area’s huge wooden caquelons where guests sit in wooden ‘pots’ atop the mountain to enjoy fondue – Fondueland Gstaad is 15 minutes from town.
Affordable: Mountain Apartment
Many people have second homes in Gstaad (which they rent out during high season), so booking an Airbnb can be an affordable option for a weekend stay. This cosy mountain apartment is a three-minute walk from the town centre, with one double bedroom and a twin – perfect for family holidays. There’s a spacious living area, a fully equipped kitchen and a modern bathroom. Guests can use the ski room to store boots and equipment.
From £150 per night.
Luxe: Huus Hotel
For an unforgettable trip, Huus faces the La Videmanette, a beautiful peak in a remote area of the resort. There are 136 rooms furnished with natural materials, plush décor, and comfortable beds by Swedish brand Hästens (said to be the best in the world). Guests can enjoy regional dishes at the multiple restaurants before relaxing at the lobby bar. There’s also a family-friendly spa, a range of activities including mountain biking and hiking, and a Huus-owned ski school which is free for little ones. There are even two Range Rover convertibles available for complimentary hire.
From £250 per night.
FOR ADVANCED SKIERS:
On the Italian side of Mont Blanc, Courmayeur is a firm favourite with visitors for its car-free cobbled streets, family-run hotels, charming atmosphere, delicious mountain food and fresh air. All ages can embrace the great outdoors with superb hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting, sport fishing, and tennis, as well as trail running for the super fit. There are also indoor sports at the foot of Mont Blanc which can be enjoyed year-round. At 2,775m, it doesn’t have the highest skiing altitude on this list, but the area benefits from good snow cover thanks to its range of north or north west-facing slopes, which are mostly suited to more experienced skiers. The resort offers access to the famous Vallée Blanche, but one of the top attractions is the SkyWay Monte Bianco cable car, which offers riders views of peaks like the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa.
Courmayeur has a buzzy atmosphere in the evenings, when glamorous visitors head to its bars and restaurants. Unlike other resorts, the main lift in the village goes to Plan Chécrouit until midnight, meaning you can enjoy the best mountain spots for dinner, including La Chaumière, a traditional bistrot and Maison Vieille, set in a cosy shepherd’s hut. Courmayeur is also one of the best places in Switzerland for aprés ski, so a fun girls’ trip should involve drinks and dancing at Super G, where DJs take to the decks while cocktails flow all day. La Buvette is slightly more relaxed but equally fun, while The Club draws in the crowds thanks to its late-night parties and champagne.
Affordable: Locanda La Brenva
This small hotel is at the foot of Mont Blanc, just 500m from the Val Veny cable cars with spectacular mountain views. With simple interiors, rooms feel traditional and cosy with dark wood furnishings. Ideal for couples, guests can relax by the fire in the lounge after a day on the slopes, and meet for an aperitif in the bar before a traditional Swiss dinner.
Rooms from £120 per night.
Luxe: Le Massif
The contemporary, five-star Le Massif is in the centre of Courmayeur and has 80 ultra-stylish rooms and suites. The extensive spa offers guests the ideal antidote to a busy day – its range of indulgent and innovative treatments include alpine stone massages, anti-stress massages, hydration treatments with wild fruits, as well as forest bathing in the summer months.
Rooms from €350 per night.
FOR A FAMILY HOLIDAY:
Norway might not be an obvious choice for a skiing holiday, but it has world-class slopes and excellent conditions during the winter months. The resorts are smaller than those in the Alps, but the terrain is ideal for beginners, including those at the family-friendly resort, Hafjell. Just two hours from Oslo, it has 50km of varied terrain connected by 18 lifts. There are three nursery slopes and a ski school at the top so beginners can get the full experience, as well as more challenging areas for experienced skiers. The resort is perfect if you want to snowboard, with a terrain park for all abilities, as well as 600km of cross-country trails. Families can make the most of the on-mountain experience with Hafjell’s newly developed visitors area comprised of new cafés, restaurants, bars and accommodation.
On the slopes, Woody's is one of the resort’s most popular restaurants thanks to its crowd-pleasing dishes and children’s lunch menu, while Olympiatunet is open for lunch and hot chocolate stop-offs. For a fun atmosphere without the kids, Lodgen is one of the best restaurants and bars on the mountain, while Ilsetra at the top of Hafjell served hearty Norwegian dishes like stews and meatballs. Keep little ones entertained at Hunderfossen Winterpark which has a magical snow hotel and a show in the evening.
Located on the upper side of Hafjell, Hafjelltunet has modern apartments close to the family slopes. Each apartment has an open-plan kitchen/diner, a spacious and cosy living area with an indoor wood burner, and rooms with four to eight beds. Guests can use the ski-in ski-out facilities that lead straight to the main lifts and ski school.
Seven-night stays start from £690pp, including flights and transfers.
Luxe: Novasol Holiday Home
Novasol has a range of luxury holiday homes in and around Hafjell, including this design-led chalet with beautiful mountain views. With space for up to nine guests, the property has four bedrooms varying in size, all of which are light and bright with plush interiors, and wooden furnishings. Families or groups can sit beside the fire in the living area, cook meals in the modern kitchen and explore the local area on foot or snowshoe.
From £980 per night.
FOR THE ULTIMATE ADVENTURE:
Located in the Austrian Arlberg region, Lech is one of the most extensive ski resorts in the world, with first-class tree-lined slopes for all abilities and an extensive selection of winter activities, from winter hiking and heliskiing to tobogganing and snowshoeing. Austria’s biggest ski resort is connecting to surrounding areas like St.Anton, Zürs and Warth – ideal if you want to extend your trip. With 305km of runs to explore, the terrain is suited to experiences skiers who are confident enough go off-piste. However, beginners will find several learner slopes and a few ski schools. The village itself is quintessentially Austrian with designer boutiques, cosy cafés and restaurants, and independent shops selling everything from hot chocolate to eggnog.
You could easily spend a week exploring Lech’s fantastic culinary scene, comprised of award-winning fine dining restaurants and stylish alpine huts. For a special evening, book a table at Rote Wand’s restaurant, famous for its chef’s table where diners can watch traditional alpine dishes being cooked over fire. Severin’s at the luxury alpine retreat is another top choice with modern European dishes and an excellent wine list, while the restaurant at Hotel Almhof Schneider is unpretentious and cosy, and highlights the best seasonal produce from the region. When in Lech, après ski is must. During high season, there are daily parties at institutions like Schlegelkopf, an upmarket mountain restaurant for glamorous long lunches, and The Cottage Pub which occasionally attracts big-name DJs. For a weekend trip, it’s worth booking ahead if you want to go to the resort’s snow parks or book a winter hiking tour. We recommend an afternoon at Hotel Aurelio Spa for a post-ski treatment and an hour in the thermal suite.
Affordable: Chalet Nidus
Accommodation in Lech is expensive, so you have to spend if you want to stay in the resort. On the more affordable side, this chalet sleeps up to ten guests across five double rooms. Just a short walk from the village, guests can walk to the Schlosskopf ski lift to access Oberlech. The chalet has chic interiors with natural Alpine furnishing that make it feel extra cosy. Guests can relax in the open-plan kitchen and cosy up next to the fire in the living area.
From £844pp per short stay.
Luxe: Severin’s, The Alpine Retreat
Severin’s is one of the smartest hotels on this list. Just outside of the main resort area, the boutique hotel has nine elegant suites, all with open fires and balconies, plus one four-bedroom private residence for extra special stays. Just a short walk from two newly opened ski lifts, there’s a destination restaurant, an impressive spa, a state-of-the-art cinema, and a large outdoor hot tub on a heated terrace. The concierge service can help organise heliskiing trips and guided hikes.
From €690 per night on a B&B basis.
BEST FOR NON-SKIERS:
If you’re travelling with someone who doesn’t ski, Andermatt offers the best of both worlds. Those who want to hit the slopes can enjoy world-class runs, while non-skiers can take advantage of several winter activities and a 20km winter walking trail in the valley. During the winter months, the area benefits from good snowfall, so conditions are reliable for skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing – the resort also has links to Sedrun ski resort, so there’s a further 181km to explore. Andermatt is surrounded by two main mountains: Nätschen to the north and Gemsstock on the southern side of the Swiss Alps. The latter is extremely popular with intermediates thanks to its 2,961m altitude and famous off-piste routes. First-timers should also book lessons at Schweizer Schneesportschule Andermatt, the area’s most prestigious ski school suitable for both adults and children.
Meanwhile, non-skiers will appreciate the après ski, as well as the resort’s drinking and dining options – whether you want to hunker down at a mountainside restaurant or work your way around the hotel bars in town. The luxury Chedi Hotel Andermatt has a range of bars with live music and outdoor fireplaces which you can relax at straight from the slopes, as well as a Michelin-starred Japanese Restaurant. Himalaya Bar on the mountain has a fun atmosphere from day to night, while Snowboat and Harry’s Ski Bar are popular with resort regulars.
Affordable: Hotel Phoenix
This cosy mountainside hotel is in the quiet Wiesti quarter of Zermatt. The main town is a ten-minute walk away, as is the Furi ski lift. Rooms are modern, with minimalist interiors, beautiful views and furniture made from locally sourced natural materials. There’s a breakfast buffet each morning, plus a cosy bar area for evening drinks.
From £190 per night.
Luxe: The Chedi Andermatt
This five-star hotel brought a new level of luxury to Andermatt when it opened nearly a decade ago. Guests can stay in spacious rooms and suites which have everything you need for a special stay, and dine at the many restaurants, including winter pop-ups with fondue and raclette. There’s also an impressive spa (for guests and pre-booked spa days), plus a new winter village with outdoor hot tubs, saunas and market stalls.
From £450 per night.
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